Toronto based indie rockers WIldlife are a band to watch and listen too.
There is a divide between musicians and music writers that is quickly becoming an insurmountable chasm. Music writers seek the new, musicians seek the old; musicians will dig deep into the crates, into the archives, into the vaults to find the origins of songs. Musicians look to the past for inspiration, to build the future. Music writers look to the present to predict the future. They’re usually wrong. Pop never lasts. Its own death is carried in its DNA. It is programmed to self-destruct and to be replaced by the ever newer new.
Music writers chase after the new as musicians go further into the old, the gap is widening, to the point where music writers have lost touch with musicians and the music they make. The underground of basement scenes is thriving on Spotify and Bandcamp while mainstream music writers fall over themselves reporting on Bouncy’s last lemonade stand.
Toronto two-piece CATL punk up the Blues with grizzled garage rock.
Music writers have to ask themselves what value does their voice add? Why write?
Writing about (and by writing we mean communicating, whether podcast, broadcast, online or inpaper) something newly discovered is not the same as reporting the news. The pursuit of news is open to manipulation by publicists who feed their clients to the media. Media feed off those clients’ fans who hopefully become readers and consumers of the products advertised in the margins. In return publicists give access to stars. Its a payola, its an addiction and an aphrodisiac. It feeds the ego of the music writer, it feeds the music writers’ brand, its feeds the industry but it does nothing to feed the music.
The @LonelyVagabond, the flaneur of the Six, has wandered Toronto streets seeking the new for many years. He is often disappointed, more often than not. The new no longer inspires.
We at SlowCity agree for many reasons but mostly because his idea re-introduces the idea of time back into the equation.
Scotty Moore was one of Rock 'n Roll's originators. He was Elvis Presley's guitarist. He died June 28 2016.
Is what we write worth the death of a tree? That is the question.
It used to be the story would have to matter because of the effort that went into its delivery. But now, as I am now doing I can type and publish at the same time. There is no filter between my fingers and your eyes, your ears. I have access to stars and I have access to ears. It costs me nothing to publish. Not money, not effort, not time. Music is emailed to me. I listen. I write and publish. But I serve no one except publicists with that approach, I certainly bring nothing new to the conversation around popular music, the Kanyes and Taylor Swifts and Rhiannas and reformed 90s eras one hit wonders.
Lonely is asking that we bring time to the publishing equation; that we dig deeper for context, that we do indeed addsomething new to the conversation around music, our voice by way of our own ears; that we need to avoid churnalism, the easy reposting of press releases; that we don’t publish on a schedule but when something matters.
“when I have nothing to say my lips are sealed”
There needs to more consideration for the music and less for the music industry. I too am worried that my worth is measured in retweets as once I worried that music’s worth was measured in bottles of beer. I too question my value and where I fit in my scene.
HEADSWIRL are a young band from Oshawa.
I began writing about the Durham Music Scene thirty years ago. I still write about it. There’s not much going on, its in a slump, but Durham Region music and musicians are my subjects, beyond that I am free to write about anything I wish and you are free to read or leave.
More music writers need to write about what they care about and more importantly more music media need to get off the gravy train of pop and write about music that matters. We know it when we hear it even if we can’t predict where its coming from. All of us who write about music have to become better champions of music and wean ourselves of the publicist’s access offers.
Work your street beat even if you are Pitchfork or the Rolling Stone. Go to live shows in clubs near you even if you don’t live in Portland or Brooklyn or Toronto. Hit the streets, become a voice and a champion for new music yes but also for old music, old musicians, dead musicians, small town local heroes. . . everybody’s got one. Raise their profile and put music first.
Polaris long listed BA Johnston from Hamilton is a touring trooper, a road warrior who has played all across Canada and still remains unknown. He may prefer it that way.